A Christmas to Remember:
When I decided to create a new signature pot pourri, oil and fragrance spray for Christmas 2021, I sought inspiration from a dear friend of mine.
When in creative mode I like to feel immersed in what I'm doing, so picture this, it was the middle of April and my studio was prepped with Christmas decorations, I embraced a mug of hot chocolate as Christmas music played quietly in the background, I went full on Noddy Holder and even had mince pies!
I began to write down and reminisce on my experiences of Christmas growing up. Then I remembered a project I had worked on some years ago with a good friend of mine, Kay Rawlinson (I made a film about her life...that's another story!)
Her recollection of Christmas stood out in my mind, I hit the pause button and arranged an overdue catch up and a walk down memory lane with Kay, our conversation that day formed the inspiration for my Christmas 2021 fragrance.
The memories Kay recalled had evocative scent memories at its core. Chocolate coins fallen to the bottom of the stocking, chocolate for breakfast, a cold house filled with festive pine and a fire freshly lit brought this wonderful story to life.
A 1960’s Christmas
Waking up Christmas morning with my sister was the most exciting part of Christmas as a child. Our stockings were placed at the end of the bed and the first task of the day was to empty them out. Sprawled over the knitted quilt were golden foiled chocolate coins, a kazoo, a lump of coal and a clementine, the stocking was just the start of a day full of presents all stored under the tree along with a bracing walk after lunch followed by visitors at teatime.
Downstairs the radio would be playing in the kitchen, mum had already began making the Christmas dinner.
We would make our way downstairs and sit in the cold living room next to the real Christmas tree, even though Artificial tinsel Christmas trees were gaining in popularity which saved on having to hoover up the pine needles our dad wouldn’t have it and in our house it had to be a real tree every year! The fireplace would be lit and we'd throw our lumps of coal from our stockings into it, 'cwtching' (Welsh word for huddling closer) in closer whilst unwrapping more gifts and always being allowed to open the tin of chocolates and having them for breakfast!
Sitting with my sister we would peel the clementine’s the sparks of juice from the peel giving off the most intense aroma, juicy and full of tastes that we only had at this time of year.
The lights, although retro to us now, in the 60s everyone thought they were really modern.
Handmade paper chains made at church with my sister proudly held sway above.
A Christmas lunch from the mid-fifties onwards, once rationing had been forgotten, was a very traditional affair. The menu would be recognisable by most people today as the traditional Christmas celebration.
Christmas was, as is now, very much a family event, with everyone sitting down to the traditional Christmas lunch.
Many people served turkey as the main meal throughout the 50s and 60s. The evergreen TV Chef, Marguerite Pattern suggested turkey and gammon for the main course. A Christmas pudding usually followed, topped with custard. For alternative puddings Marguerite Patten suggested Charlotte Russe, a dessert made from double cream, jelly, oranges and apricots, surrounded by sponge fingers, (sponge fingers were popular in the 60s and 70s), or raspberry meringue nests.
Mince pies were also favourites, as were mincemeat based puddings, such as a mincemeat flan topped with meringue.
Christmas time always reminds me of a painting we had although it was on display all year I think the tinsel draped around it makes it stand out. Chinese Girl (often popularly known as The Green Lady) is a 1952 painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff. It became one of the world's most popular paintings when made into prints in the 1950s and 1960s, and is one of the world's best-selling art reproductions of the twentieth century. The painting is of a Chinese girl and is best known for the unusual skin tone used for her face - a blue-green colour, which gives the painting its popular name "The Green Lady".
We all wore our best clothes for Christmas.
After the Christmas lunch, many people settled down to watch the Queen's Christmas speech to the nation. The Queen first broadcast a Christmas message on television in 1957. The tv was never allowed on in our house until the evening so we never got to see the Queens speech. I vividly remember the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ I watched this film cuddled up with mum on the sofa, a film that remains popular today from 1946 about an angel who helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.
A new fragrance is born;
Launching in October 2021 - Wake up to the scent of cocoa and a freshly lit fireplace in a cold house filled with festive pine. This scent evokes memories of a simpler time when Christmas was spent around a radio and stepping out of bed, walking downstairs to a cold room where a lamented Christmas tree would throw fresh pine in the crisp air and the chocolate tin was passed around as the fireplace began to warm.
A scent can transport us to times and places from our memories and imaginations.
Which decade marks your Christmas to Remember?
Tell us in the comments box below